German media giant ProSiebenSat.1 has launched another strategic review of its Red Arrow Studios and is looking to sell or set up an industry partnership for the unit’s international production and distribution business. Red Arrow Studios comprises 20 production companies which span Europe and the U.S. and which make dramas such as Amazon’s “Bosch” and unscripted series like “Married at First Sight.” It also has a sales arm that is a perennial presence at Mipcom and the major TV markets.
Variety has confirmed that ProSiebenSat.1 is not committed to a full sale of Red Arrow but is open to various outcomes. It is testing the waters with potential investors and partners, and has brought in investment bank Morgan Stanley to handle the process.
The unit’s domestic production business and the digital operation are not part of the new review process. ProSiebenSat.1 had conducted an earlier strategic review to decide the company’s direction, at which point management ruled out a full disposal of Red Arrow Studios. That strategy has changed under Max Conze, who joined as CEO last year. James Baker also stepped up to CEO at Red Arrow Studios in 2018, amid a period of staff turnover at the producer-distributor.
The content business has been turning in decent numbers for ProSiebenSat.1 in recent months, with revenues and profits rising in its latest results.
With Endemol Shine seemingly still looking for suitors, some of Europe’s best-known big production houses could soon find themselves with new owners. At the same time, new players such as the German-based film and TV production and distribution business backed by KKR are emerging.
Former Sky exec Baker, speaking to Variety in July, said Conze had tasked Red Arrow with working more closely with ProSiebenSat.1’s portfolio of channels. “There has been a step-change in the last year since Max came on board where he has been saying, ‘How do we get a lot closer to our channel partners at ProSieben and Sat.1 and start to work on making more non-scripted?’ Red Seven, our main German producer, will make a lot more shows for those German channels,” Baker said.
German website DWDL.de was first to report the news of a potential Red Arrow sale. It said that investors have until mid-September to register initial expressions of interest.